This is Ligonier's friendly neighborhood blog and an attempt to recapture our lively opinionated debates in a free speech zone.

Please join our conversations. Contributors welcome.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Mountain Palace - Seaweed Special and Cooking Lessons!

The special this weekend at Mountain Palace is pork with seaweed and rice. Now for the good news! Lacy started Happy Healthy cooking class last Sunday with four participants who insisted it was wonderful! They were ordering rice cookers after the session. She taught Chinese salad, chaofan, and chicken/cashew/celery for the first day. Lacy demonstrated from preparing the vegetables to the actual cooking. Then the Happy Healthy students cooked and enjoyed the best part, eating their own Happy Healthy creations. It was fun! So now we will be doing Happy Healthy Cooking Class on Sundays at 11:30. If anyone is interested, please call Mountain Palace in advance at 724 717-8614 or cell 724 288-3872 to make arrangements. We charged $25 which included the meal. Traditional Chinese Exercise and Acupressure lessons are still on at the Ligonier YMCA on Saturdays at 11:00. Pressure point focus this week is upon visual acuity. Fee is $15 to the YMCA for members or non-member walk-ins. Mountain Palace is coolgila! Eleven miles north of Ligonier left off of Route 711 onto Creek Road directly across from Mirror Lake. Friday 6 to 9, Saturday 2 to 9 and Sunday 12 to 6.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Valet Day slated for recycling center

The future of the Ligonier Valley Recycling Program remains uncertain.
“As far as funding goes, we have enough to make it continue for the next six months and then that's it,” said Susan Huba, executive director of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, which oversees the program.
Ligonier Valley High School's Interact Club will try to muster support for the program on March 1 by holding the first Valet Day.
Students will unload and sort patrons' recyclables from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the recycling facility at along Old Route 30 West. Patrons can donate tips that will go toward the recycling program.
“It's basically a drive-up service,” Huba said.

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Ligonier Township pondering comprehensive plan

Ligonier Township planning commission learned more about comprehensive development plans last week.
The township's comprehensive plan — a vision for community development — was last updated in 1989.
It should be updated every 10 years, according to zoning officer Shelly Kaltenbaugh.
Estimates to update the plan and the township zoning ordinance range between $100,000 and $150,000.
Funding and assistance are available through county and state agencies, two experts told the board at a Feb. 18 meeting.
Dennis Puko, planning program manager for the state Department of Community and Economic Development, and Brian Lawrence, assistant deputy director of the Westmoreland County planning department, detailed issues to be considered.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Be part of the solution....

In June of 2011, a Stanford University scientist, an actor, a banker and a filmmaker were sitting around a table talking about their opposition to extreme energy extraction. (Think fracking, tar sands, all fossil fuel-based processes.) Their conversation sparked an important realization - it wasn’t enough for them to be against something. They needed to be part of the solution. That day, they created The Solutions Project

The Mission: Use the powerful combination of science + business + culture to accelerate the transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. 

Solution for Pennsylvania:

Sign the petition if you believe it's time for Eric Holder to go home

A coalition of Black Pastors want a million "signatures" on a petition to impeach Eric Holder. 

If you believe that US Attorney General Eric Holder is disregarding the law rather than upholding it, please sign the petition at

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Allegory Gallery is MOVING

For the past two and half years, Allegory Gallery has called 139 East Main Street home.  We've met so many wonderful people in this space and created so many amazing memories.  It has been an honor and a pleasure to be able to offer our unique finds in this space.  Since we've started, we've had over a dozen art exhibitions, hosted teachers from all over the country, and had events featuring talented authors, artists, writers and musicians.  Thousands of people have crossed the threshold, from former Project Runway contestants to beauty queens.  In this space, we've laughed and cried.  We've transformed the stuff of dreams into reality.

Starting in May, we will shut the door on this chapter of our lives and move forward into our new incarnation.  The store will move a few blocks away to a new location.  We will continue promoting the arts and offering beads, art, and jewelry to the Ligonier community and abroad through our online presence.  We believe in our mission as a creative destination dedicated to inspiration, learning, and the joy of making.  We will continue to empower individuals to adorn their lives and find personal meaning in the things they fill their lives with.

The decision to leave our current location was not an easy one.  We grappled with the idea of starting over and part of us will always be a part of this space.  We've imbued it with our energy.  But the opportunity presented itself and we looked for the lessons in recent challenges.  We looked deep within and asked, "What's next?"  The Universe responded with this amazing opportunity to grow our business and further our goals.

Over the next few weeks, more details of the exact location will be revealed.  I will, of course, document the transition and share glimpses of the process along the way on my personal blog.  So far, we have scheduled our Grand Reopening for Saturday, May 10th.  Up until the move date, we will be offering special sales to help thin our inventory and make the move easier.  I will post more information as it becomes available.

We want to thank everyone who has welcomed us into the community and supported our vision and small business.  We wish to express our gratitude to all those people who have lent their time, energy and efforts to making this dream a reality.  Thank you so much and we hope to see you at the Grand Reopening to celebrate our next chapter.


I am imposing a temporary restriction on posting comments.  For the time being, please sign in with an Intense Debate or Word Press account to post a comment. By signing is to either service, I will know who you are, even if your real identity is not known to the public.  Again, this is temporary.  Your comments are most welcome but just for now, I'd like each one to be carefully considered.  Thanks and I hope you understand. ;)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Know any seasonal workers who lost their unemployment due to PA Act 60?  I created a BLOG site to call attention to the impact on nuclear workers.   Are there other seasonal workers who are impacted?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hey, Mountain Palace is having a cooking class on Sunday!

The first Happy Healthy Chinese cooking class will take place this Sunday at 11:00 at Mountain Palace. Lacy has been quite intent on teaching people the importance of food content in relation to diabetes and other health issues. She is particularly interested in people learning to prepare and feed healthy foods to children that they may learn there are healthier options than fast foods, deep fried chicken nuggets with macaroni and cheese, pizza, etc. Her belief is that if parents can expose children to healthier options they may then ultimately make positive choices and lead healthier lives. There is one projection that by the year 2020 one in three children in the United States will have developed diabetes. This week she will teach preparation of chicken with cashews and celery with rice and chaofan (fried rice). Cost is $25 which includes the meal. 

Major victory for PA air, water and our lovely state

PA Supreme Court will not reconsider Act 13 decision, despite Corbett request

"In a 4-2 decision in December, the state Supreme Court court threw out portions of the law, known as Act 13, which restricted local zoning of oil and gas development. One section of the law that was struck down called for statewide rules on oil and gas to preempt local zoning rules. Another section required local governments to allow oil and gas development in all zoning areas.

In the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Ronald Castille, the court determined both those provisions violated the Environmental Rights Amendment of the state constitution, which guarantees Pennsylvanians the right to “clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. ” The decision was hailed as a major victory by environmental groups and local governments who argued Act 13 went too far in restricting local authority."

**Thank an exhausted fractivist next time you see one... . And then join the ranks of those trying to keep this lousy industry out of ALL of our backyards. Like Rex Tillerson most recently -- the CEO of none other than Exxon..."Not in my backyard!" says Tillerson, promoter of fracking in your backyard. (See related post.)

Exxon CEO Comes Out...Against Fracking Project

...because it affects his property value...interesting.

"As ExxonMobil’s CEO, annual salary $40.3 million, it’s Rex Tillerson’s job to promote the hydraulic fracturing enabling the recent oil and gas boom, and fight regulatory oversight. The oil company is the biggest natural gas producer in the U.S., relying on the controversial drilling technology to extract it. The exception is when Tillerson’s $5 million property value might be harmed. Tillerson has joined a lawsuit that cites fracking’s consequences in order to block the construction of a 160-foot water tower next to his and his wife’s Texas home. The Wall Street Journal reports the tower would supply water to a nearby fracking site, and the plaintiffs argue the project would cause too much noise and traffic from hauling the water from the tower to the drilling site. The water tower, owned by Cross Timbers Water Supply Corporation, “will sell water to oil and gas explorers for fracing [sic] shale formations leading to traffic with heavy trucks on FM 407, creating a noise nuisance and traffic hazards,” the suit says.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) has formally extended a welcome to Tillerson to the fracking critic club, with this statement Friday: "I would like to officially welcome Rex to the ‘Society of Citizens Really Enraged When Encircled by Drilling’ (SCREWED). This select group of everyday citizens has been fighting for years to protect their property values, the health of their local communities, and the environment. We are thrilled to have the CEO of a major international oil and gas corporation join our quickly multiplying ranks.""

Friday, February 21, 2014


calling young singers

Musical audition call for children’s chorus in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat March 8

JENNERSTOWN, PA – The Mountain Playhouse is known for bringing Broadway talent to its historic Jennerstown stage.  With auditions in New York and Pittsburgh, the actors who perform summer stock theater at the Playhouse hail from across the US.  This season, the Mountain Playhouse opens its auditions to talented local young vocalists who will have the opportunity to rehearse and perform alongside professional actors. Youth musical auditions for the children’s chorus of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be held at the Mountain Playhouse March 8.   Auditions will be conducted by Teresa Stoughton Marafino, executive producer; Char Harris, director; Jacob Toth, choreographer; and Terry Osman, musical accompanist.

“Kids have to be able to sing,” Teresa Stoughton Marafino, executive producer of the Mountain Playhouse, said. “We are looking for enthusiastic young people who can sing and have a sense of rhythm and movement.” Auditions are by appointment for young singers ages 8 – 16. Parents may call 814-629-9201 ext. 114 to schedule a March 8 audition. According to Marafino, 12 chorus members will be chosen.

interesting township news

The board approved an easement agreement with Ligonier Camp and Conference Center for a Ligonier Valley Trail project, as well as a month-to-month residential lease for a property, owned by the township, located along Old Lincoln Highway. Komar said the current tenants have lived there for 44 years, but a formal, written lease agreement was not previously established.

Zoning Officer Shelly Kaltenbaugh reported that the planning commission's Feb. 18 meeting will include an informal panel discussion with Dennis Puko, planning program manager at the state Department of Community and Economic Development, and Brian Lawrence, assistant deputy director at Westmoreland County Planning and Development, to discuss planning in Ligonier Township, land use issues, comprehensive plans and funding. She also said she recently met with representatives from Sheetz Inc., who said they anticipate beginning work within the next two weeks on its Ligonier location's renovations and expansion.

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Mountain Palace - Cumin Lamb Special, Chinese Exercise/Acupressure & Happy Healthy Cooking Class

We need some more things going on at Mountain Palace! This weekend's special is cumin lamb with green peppers and onions with rice. The Saturday 11:00 Chinese medical exercise and acupressure session at the Ligonier YMCA will continue at the reduced rate of $15 per session with non-member walk-ins welcome.
The first Happy Healthy Chinese cooking class will take place this Sunday at 11:00 at Mountain Palace. Lacy has been quite intent on teaching people the importance of food content in relation to diabetes and other health issues. She is particularly interested in people learning to prepare and feed healthy foods to children that they may learn there are healthier options than fast foods, deep fried chicken nuggets with macaroni and cheese, pizza, etc. Her belief is that if parents can expose children to healthier options they may then ultimately make positive choices and lead healthier lives. There is one projection that by the year 2020 one in three children in the United States will have developed diabetes. This week she will teach preparation of chicken with cashews and celery with rice and chaofan (fried rice). Cost is $25 which includes the meal.
We are continuing to offer Saturday delivery in Ligonier of handmade frozen dumplings. Call cell 724 288-3872 by 10:00 Saturday morning to place your order and pick them up in the parking lot in front of the YMCA between 11 and 12.
Come to Mountain Palace and enjoy some happy healthy authentic northern Chinese! Eleven miles north of Ligonier left off of Route 711 onto Creek Road directly across from Mirror Lake. Friday 6 to 9, Saturday 2 to 9 and Sunday 12 to 6. 724 717-8614

Thursday, February 20, 2014

new law impacts property owners, Realtors and mortgage lenders

In an effort to raise revenue for municipalities, Pennsylvania lawmakers have passed a law that will have a major impact on how distressed property owners - including REO holders - liquidate their assets.

This law, Act 93 of 2013, was meant to target slumlords and other property owners who have the ability to pay their property taxes but are unwilling to pay.  The law, once fully implemented, will allow in personam judgments to be filed by a municipality - without a court proceeding - against any property owner who has failed to pay taxes and has reached the stage when the tax is considered a claim absolute.  The claim absolute status would normally be reached one year after the tax goes delinquent.

How does Act 93 change tax collection? It removes the barrier of a court proceeding for the approval and filing of an in personam judgment. Since the law sets no further restrictions beyond claim absolute status for selection of property owners, we have to presume that some counties, if not all, will file such judgments against ALL property owners vested in title with such delinquent taxes, including Fannie Mae.

That's right. It is important to note that Act 93 does not distinguish between types of property owners.  Mortgage lenders and other market entities who routinely acquire property through foreclosure are treated in the same manner as all property owners under this new law.

What happens when an in personam judgment is filed against an individual or entity? The judgment automatically attaches to ALL real estate owned by that individual or entity in the county. This means that one property could not be sold without also paying the judgment or judgments for taxes owed on other properties.  It's an all for one and one for all method of delinquent tax collection.

This is perfectly fine for targeting so called slumlords and others who have the ability to pay, but what about properties were the owner doesn't have the extra cash or equity?  What about owners who are close to break even or underwater because they are in financial distress? How do they liquidate assets to avoid foreclosure or get out from under a bad situation? 

Tying one property to others in these cases, I argue, will cause harm.  If an owner is able to liquidate the asset, the good old fashioned in rem tax lien will cause delinquent taxes to be paid.  If an owner is not capable of covering an additional judgment caused by Act 93, then taxes aren't paid, the property remains distressed and if mortgaged, a candidate for foreclosure.

Let's talk about two techniques used by mortgage lenders and property owners to avoid foreclosure - short sales and deed in lieu.

In the case of a short sale, the property owner negotiates with the mortgage lender to accept less than what is owed on the mortgage loan making the case that the property value is insufficient to meet transaction costs and the unpaid balance on the loan. As part of these negotiations, mortgage lenders typically allow payment of normal closing costs including a real estate commission and delinquent taxes owing on the mortgaged parcel.  It is inconceivable to me that a mortgage lender would also allow the payoff of an Act 93 judgment for taxes owed on a different parcel so in cases where we have a property owner in distress and subjected to Act 93 rules, I would argue that they no longer have a short sale as an option for foreclosure avoidance.

The same is true with deed in lieu in which an owner would negotiate with a mortgage lender to simply take back the property rather than to foreclose.  If there are Act 93 judgments attached, the owner and lender are forced into foreclosure because it is only with good notice in a foreclosure that such judgments can be divested and cleared from the title to this distressed property.  I would argue then, that owners and mortgage lenders faced with Act 93 judgments lose the option of avoiding foreclosure with a deed in lieu.

Act 93 impedes the ability of distressed sellers liquidating assets to avoid foreclosure, thus delaying the payment of delinquent property taxes.  Once unable to avoid foreclosure, the property then is subjected to a lengthy proceeding which if done properly will divest the Act 93 judgments making the entirety of the exercise seem ludicrous if not simply sad.

Now we must take the Act 93 scenario one step further and consider what happens after foreclosure. Once a sheriff has deeded the property to the mortgage lender, now the mortgage lender itself may find this property attached with other properties owned by the mortgage lender in that county by Act 93 judgments. Stay with me because I know this might be confusing. Remember that no restrictions exist as to what kind of entities might be subjected to such judgments. Take Fannie Mae for instance.  In the normal course of business Fannie Mae owns multiple REO properties in every county and many of these properties have delinquent taxes. The same is true for all mortgage lenders.  Each would be a target for Act 93 judgments which would cause at minimum, a need for REO managers to change the way they do business and pay delinquent taxes as they acquire the property rather than when they sell the property. This may be easy for some and not so easy for others but it certainly would be a change. The question is, how big of a change is it and does it make doing business in Pennsylvania more onerous than doing business elsewhere?  How does that impact the business of mortgage lending?

it's twu, it's twu

Ben Wright has resigned as chief executive officer of the Ligonier Valley YMCA.
Wright resigned at the YMCA board's meeting on Monday, according to board president Doug Welty, who declined to offer details.
“We can't discuss personnel issues, but Ben did resign,” Welty said.
Wright, who has led the YMCA for the past three years, did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday or Wednesday.

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interesting comment this morning.... is this true, has Ben Wright left the Y?

"Ben Wright has left the Y. Why? Hoping this brings a little fresh air into Ligonier as a whole, no matter why he departed their team. This has become an angry little village, and tarnished. Zoning out the window, efforts to eliminate the current planning commission, efforts to oust Chick Cicconi and replace him with a building inspector who may inspect building a council member may build."

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Art Exhibit at the Lincoln Highway Experience

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor is proud to announce an art exhibit by contemporary artist, Wendy Allen, who specializes in depicting America’s sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Highway, dedicated in 1913 to connect eager automobile travelers from coast to coast, bears the name of one of America’s most iconic presidents, Abraham Lincoln. Wendy Allen, a Pittsburgh native who has a studio and gallery in Gettysburg, captures Lincoln’s character through her artistic eye. “My paintings address the relationship between humans and their uniquely human attribute, a sense of history,” Allen says. “Through the use of Abraham Lincoln’s iconic face, I explore the concept of history within the artistic framework of perspective, composition, color, and texture. And to me, Abraham Lincoln’s face represents freedom. His face is universally familiar— and yet there is still so much to discover. Painting his face over and over again, in different styles and techniques, has become my life’s passion. " This free exhibit of Allen's paintings can be viewed through March 19, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm at the Lincoln Highway Experience museum, located at 3435 Route 30 East, Latrobe, PA, 15650.

Lincoln Highway Mini-Grant Opportunity

Nonprofit organizations and municipalities along the Lincoln Highway in Westmoreland County who have small recreational, natural, or historical projects, and are interested in applying for funding, must attend (two from each organization or municipality) the Lincoln Highway Mini-Grant Workshop on Tuesday, March 11 at 1 p.m. at the Lincoln Highway Experience, 3435 State Route 30 East, Latrobe, PA 15650. Funding requests from $1,500 to $5,000 will be discussed, and the application and grant guidelines will be reviewed; all requests require a cash match. This grant opportunity is a partnership between the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Public comment period extended until March 14th

For those concerned about the impacts of oil and gas operations on the water supply - and/or concerned about open pits and wastewater impoundments, or radioactivity from same - comments can still be made to the PA DEP Environmental Quality Board (EQB) regarding the proposed rulemaking until March 14, 2014.  Submit comments to EQB by accessing the EQB’s Online Public Comment System at

Some ideas to think about:
*Water supplies should meet Safe Drinking Water standards (Drilling companies are exempted from this, astonishingly.)
*DEP should proactively establish standards for pre-drill testing
*DEP should NOT allow the storage of wastewater in open pits or impoundments
*DEP should require drill cuttings to be tested for radioactivity
*DEP should not allow storage or burial of drill cuttings on site.

Current regulations allow frack pits next to your property. Current regulations allow contaminated, radioactive waste to be buried on farmland, residential property, next to schools and day care centers. The current regulations are next to worthless in protecting one's property and one's health. The DEP is allowing standards written for shallow gas drilling to apply to hydrofracking with very few changes; today's fracking is not yesterday's shallow drilling, and much more oversight is needed.

Protect your water and air from lax regulation of the oil and gas industry; ask for DEP action at

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I don't think government should spend more money on science but I do think we should rethink how we teach basic science because clearly something is not working.

One in four Americans are completely unfamiliar with Nicolaus Copernicus's 1543 theory that the Earth circles the Sun, according to a study by the National Science Foundation.
The survey, released on Friday at an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, asked 2,200 people nine factual questions about physical and biological science, with the average score being just 5.8 correct answers.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

more Foxley Farm news

Ligonier Township has filed a civil complaint against Foxley Farm, alleging it violated a township ordinance by holding a wedding there on the weekend of Dec. 27, ignoring a cease-and-desist order.
Township zoning officer Shelly Kaltenbaugh alleges Maggie and PJ Nied violated the ordinance by hosting the wedding, an activity not permitted in the residential district where the farm is located, according to the complaint filed Thursday.
Maggie Nied denies the township's claim.
A hearing will be held 9:30 a.m. March 6 before Ligonier District Judge Denise S. Thiel. The township is seeking a $500 fine.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Ligonier Borough residents shocked as council says okay to YMCA then decides to abolish the planning commission.

The conditional use hearing, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 4, will be followed immediately afterward by a meeting to act on an ordinance abolishing the borough planning commission.
During his personnel and planning commission committee report, St. Clair said he felt it was “in the best interest of council” to establish a planning committee consisting of three council members to carry out the duties and powers set forth in the municipalities planning code, because of the fact that “planning and development of the borough have become a priority matter.” He made a motion to authorize the advertisement of the proposed ordinance and a council meeting to act on the ordinance to dissolve the planning commission at 7 p.m. March 4.

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legislative news concerning charter and cyber charter schools

Last September, a bipartisan vote passed House Bill 618, which addresses the investment in charter school education as well as the double dip on pensions that currently benefits cyber charter schools. We urge our Senate colleagues to take up this legislation and send it to Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk for his signature. 

House Bill 618 would create a matrix to measure and assess the academic performance of charter and cyber charter schools and require all initial and renewal charter and cyber charter school applicants to establish a teacher evaluation system. As an incentive to achieving those academic benchmarks, House Bill 618 would offer high-performing schools a 10-year renewal term on top of their initial term of five years. 

Under this legislation, a balanced, bipartisan Charter School Funding Advisory Commission would be created to address inequities in the formula that determine funding for charter and cyber charter schools and make appropriate recommendations to the General Assembly and the governor by March 30, 2014. The commission, which is comprised of parents, teachers, administrators and legislators, would meet with stakeholders and examine the true cost of educating a child in a cyber charter school setting. 

House Bill 618 would facilitate direct payment to charter and cyber charter schools from the Department of Education, with appropriate documentation of student enrollment and residency.

Valentine weekend at Ligonier T

One of the many special that will be prepared tonight and sat night at the tavern we still have a couple tables left either before 5 or after 8:15 tonight!! Call 724-238-7788 for info and menu

Mountain Palace - Green Bean Special & Saturday Frozen Dumpling Delivery In Ligonier!

It's pork and green beans this weekend at Mountain Palace. Come and enjoy this popular special or any of our other tasty, healthy authentic northern Chinese offerings. Friday 6 to 9, Saturday 2 to 9 and Sunday 12 to 6. Eleven miles north of Ligonier left off of Route 711 directly across from Mirror Lake. Lacy will be conducting traditional Chinese medical exercise and acupressure sessions at the Ligonier YMCA at 11:00 Saturday with a focus upon enhancing quality sleep. Fees are now reduced at the Y to $15 per session and are available to members and non-member walk-ins. Remember too you can order frozen homemade dumplings by 10:00 Saturday for delivery in Ligonier during her YMCA sessions.  724 717-8614 

"Alchemy" and "Mythic Nature" at Allegory Gallery

Happy Valentine's Day!  Want a little sneak peek of two shows opening at Allegory Gallery tomorrow?  Here are two pieces from the exhibitions:

This piece was created by Elise Wells for her show, "Alchemy".  

This collage is by Jenny Davies-Reazor for her show, "Mythic Nature".

We're really excited about the upcoming exhibitions and hope that you can drop by the gallery to celebrate the new work!  The opening is TOMORROW (Saturday, February 15th) from 5PM to 8PM. Both of the artists will be present, so it'll be a great opportunity to congratulate them on their beautiful pieces and ask them questions!  It should be a wonderful evening!  

Plus… it's a great, artsy Valentine's Day weekend date!  

FAA characterizes drones as flying food processors. DUH - yah.

Berry said he agreed with the FAA’s characterization of delivery drones as “flying food processors” and that drone delivery operators probably need regulation — like training to avoid mishaps and insurance should they occur.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Art Exhibitions at Allegory Gallery

We are thrilled to announce our upcoming shows at Allegory Gallery!  We will be featuring the work of Jenny Davies-Reazor and Elise Wells (Wigel)!  Both of these talented artists will have artwork on display at the shop.  The opening reception for their shows is this Saturday, February 15th from 5PM to 8PM.  Both artists will be in attendance.  To find out more about the show, CLICK HERE to check out the article that appeared in the Ligonier Echo.

If you are around, please make a point to stop in and celebrate the arts in Ligonier!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Good Food to share with your Valentine <3

MENU - February 12th @ 5:00pm











Laurel Valley Elementary to get new roof

Ligonier Valley School District will move forward with repairing and replacing the roof of Laurel Valley Elementary School.
At its meeting on Monday night, the school board voted unanimously to award a contract to Miller-Thomas Gyekis, the low bidder for the project, at $575,168.
Field adviser Bruce Mancini of Tremco roofing said this year's roof replacement bids came in approximately $100,000 lower than last year's because the district began the bidding process earlier than it did in 2013.

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2nd Annual Art and Basket Auction

R.K. Mellon Elementary PTA’s
2nd Annual Art and Basket Auction
Where: Antiochian Village
When: Sunday February 23rd at 2:00
Cost: $20 includes lunch and 5 basket tickets
What: We will have over 50 baskets (many donated by local businesses) that will be raffled off as well as one-of-a-kind artwork created by our students. Highlighted items include: Disney World passes, an American Girl Doll, a YMCA membership, and many wonderful gift cards for local restaurants and shops.
Why: All proceeds help the students of R.K.Mellon, including field trips, teacher supplies, the “Learn to Swim” program, and student planners.

If you would like to purchase tickets please email Mellonpta@gmail.comor call Stacey Peterman at 724-989-5224. 

Shirley Temple RIP

Shirley was a superstar before the term was invented. She said she was about 8 when adoring crowds shouting their love for her made her realize she was famous.

"I wondered why," she recalled. "I asked my mother and she said, 'Because your films make them happy.'"

Monday, February 10, 2014

Delinquent taxes on one property creates lien on all of owners' other properties in that county

Under a new Pennsylvania law that will affect many real estate transactions, property owners who get behind on their taxes on one property will have a lien slapped against all their other properties in that county.
I admit to being blindsided by this new law. I can’t comprehend how it was passed without being blocked by Realtors, mortgage lenders and title insurers.
I can only imagine that they didn’t see it coming, or couldn’t conceive that the legislators would give it credence. Maybe they didn’t understand the full complexity of its unintended consequences.
- See more at:

This is very interesting. Wonder if any of these anti-NSA actions will move forward?

The proposal is the latest in a series of state bills aiming to cut off the NSA one jurisdiction at a time for allegedly ignoring the Fourth Amendment with its dragnet collection of phone and Internet records.
The legislative wave is spearheaded by the Tenth Amendment Center, which along with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee launched the OffNow coalition last year seeking to cut off water to the NSA’s just-built Utah Data Center.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

pretty day for taking pictures ..... hemlock and viburnum in snow

Saturday, February 8, 2014

rare congregation of seagulls in Pittsburgh

While seagulls are normally around here, Bob Mulvihill from the National Aviary in Pittsburgh says what’s going on right now is very rare.
There’s an estimated flock of as many as 8,000 gulls that congregate each evening on the Allegheny River and what’s most abnormal is how far some of them have traveled.
“It’s very uncommon to have the conditions that lead to this kind of concentration,” said Mulvihill. “These birds will stay on the Great Lakes until they freeze over, and then, they hesitatingly go south looking for some open water.”

Friday, February 7, 2014

Mountain Palace - Cumin Lamb Special

The weekend special at Mountain Palace is cumin lamb with rice. It was very popular several weeks ago during a first cold spell. Come enjoy the special at Mountain Palace or any of our other tasty, healthy northern Chinese items. Lacy will be continuing traditional Chinese medical exercise and acupressure sessions at the Ligonier YMCA tomorrow at 11:00. Sessions are open to members and non-members alike with a reduced fee this eight-week period of $15 per session or $110 for the entire period. Join the American Healthy Revolution with Dr. Lacy. Get healthy and have fun! Mountain Palace hours are Friday 6 to 9, Saturday 2 to 9 and Sunday 12 to 6. Eleven miles north of Ligonier left off of Route 711 onto Creek Road directly across from Mirror Lake.  724 717-8614 
We are continuing to deliver frozen Chinese dumplings in Ligonier on Saturdays from 11:00 while Lacy conducts her sessions at the YMCA. Send email to or call cell 724 288-3872 by 10:00 Saturday morning to place your order.

tune in on Tuesday...Ligonier's Nikki Schwab is on the panel. Looking good, Nikki!

open letter to Rep. Mike Reese concerning PA Act 2013-93

Dear Rep. Reese:

I admit to being blindsided by this new law.  I can't comprehend how it was passed without being blocked by Realtors, mortgage lenders and title insurers.  I can only imagine that they didn't see it coming or couldn't conceive that the legislators would give it credence or didn't understand the full complexity of unintended consequences.

The system already in place for collection of delinquent property taxes in PA works just fine.  I hear that the impetus behind this law was Philadelphia.  I fail to see why the entire state must suffer for the failure of Philadelphia to manage its business.

The implications of this new law are still being digested.  

In short, when a title is searched, we are now required to discover ALL real estate owned by the vested owner in the county.  We then must check to see if there are any liened delinquent property taxes owed and then ALL of the liened delinquent property taxes owed for ANY properties owned by this entity will be considered a LIEN against ALL property they own in that county.

Here are some thoughts on how that might impact Pennsylvania residents:

1. A seller in a purchase transaction who is in financial distress having delinquent taxes on more than one piece of real estate in a county will have difficulty liquidating individual properties as there may not be sufficient equity in one transaction to cover all outstanding delinquent tax obligations. In these cases, buyers of the property would not be able to complete their transaction and by the time this information has been discovered are likely to have spent significant time and money on the potential purchase.

2.  A borrower in a refinance transaction who is in financial distress having delinquent taxes on more than one piece of real estate in a county will have difficulty liquidating individual properties as there may not be sufficient equity in one transaction to cover all outstanding delinquent tax obligations.

3. Large entities who take title to real estate following foreclosure such as FNMA, FHLMC, HUD, VA and lots of mortgage lenders are likely to have delinquent property taxes outstanding on multiple properties. I can only imagine the complexity of the search process, competing transactions taking place at the same time and deciding who has paid what at what time.  I just can't conceive of how these entities will cover shortages to pay all taxes as these REO properties close.  Perhaps they will simply advance funds to clear delinquent taxes on all properties as they acquire them, however, even in this case, we will have to live through a period of transition that might be crazy.

4.  Increased search time and costs which will be passed onto consumers in some fashion yet to be determined.

5. PA businesses including real estate offices, mortgage lenders, and title insurance agents such as myself will suffer loss of productivity and more importantly, loss of out of pocket funds expended for transactions which might have otherwise closed if not for this new law.

We had a good system in place for collection of delinquent property taxes.  Allowing transaction to close, always results in the delinquencies for each property to be resolved individually.  Now, with this new law, you are likely to see LESS collection of delinquencies as people are unable to move properties due to lack of equity sufficient to cover delinquencies on multiple properties.

Please review this with your colleagues and move for a repeal. 


Diane Cipa
Resident of Ligonier Township
Business Owner in Ligonier Borough

New, at Connections!

We now have beautiful, fresh, ORGANIC produce for sale, along with our current selection of natural foods.

Come in for lunch today and check it out!

Today's salads are:
Greek Orzo
Curry Chicken
Sprouted Lentil
Zucchini Pesto
Cauliflower & Peas

This Saturday at Connections Cafe

Calling all chocolate lovers!


Come and taste the decadent health benefits of chocolate at this special talk and food demonstration by local Board Certified Holistic Health Counselor Janet McKee. This is a very fun class where you learn many outrageous benefits of cocoa for your health and your love life!

Saturday, February 8 at 2:00pm

Many wonderful chocolate samples will be served so be sure not to miss this fun and informative class! Donations will be accepted, also consider ordering lunch from Connections!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

skating pond to reopen

The first skating pond on the property was established in the early 1960s by the Byers Tosh American Legion Post 267. According to member Thomas Graham, the legion initially built it for a local boys club.
“The pond was dug out by Byron “Bucky” Neiderhiser,” said Graham of Ligonier. “I helped the boys build the shed they used to sell hot dogs and hot chocolate.”
Crumrine said the warming hut with its wood burning stove will also be reopened and concessions may be available.
Charlene Pape's mother, Janet Carns, was the legion's business manager when the pond was built.
“I remember skating there when I was a little girl,” said Pape of Ligonier. “We lived in the farm house that was on the property at that time.”

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Foxley Farm in the news

“Sorry for the shortness of my tone but I have farming work to do and an Inn to run,” she continued. “Remember this is a farm and our focus is on farming, that is the detail paperwork that I had time to focus on and is important to me.
“Since I knew we would be heading towards the hog operation I just didn't care about the paperwork for events, sorry. I have 150 more hogs coming in two weeks and hoop houses have to be built,” she wrote.
The Nieds are raising free-range pigs, according to their website, as part of a sustainable farming program they've instituted to allow a farm-to-table concept that is popular in agritourism. The website says the Nieds have 2,300 on the farm.

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The students and staff of Ligonier Valley Middle School, along with the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, have permanently displayed an act of community reverence, creativity and heartfelt commemoration, with the installment of the sculpture “Cattails,” which now stands regally at 16 feet on the front lawn of the museum.
The sculpture was dedicated in honor of classmate Christopher Harr, who passed away in 2010 after a firearm was accidentally discharged. Christopher was 11 years old at the time.

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Jackie's on her way to Boston

Ligonier marathon runner Jackie Horvath competed in the Key West Half Marathon on Jan. 19 and finished the race as a champion.
“I wanted to start slow since I was coming from Pennsylvania's environment to Key West,” said Horvath. “At the 7-mile mark, I was in 21st-place and ended up sixth overall and first in the masters division.”

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Taser purchase part of endowment purchases

Ligonier Borough Police Department enhanced its selection of patrol devices by purchasing tasers for its officers with its grant.
The Ligonier Borough Police Department has used its grant to purchase four tasers and accompanying holsters for its officers.
Chief John Berger said the department previously had two tasers, but they were outdated, so if they were to break they could not be repaired.
He said having the tasers can save an officer or subject from getting seriously hurt.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Melissa and Joe at Mellow Mike

Here's Mark reading at Mellow Mike last night

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Carolyn is testing your Beatle knowledge!

  1. McCartney played a a left-handed 1960 Les Paul Sunburst guitar once owned by whom?
  2. Paul McCartney wrote Hey Jude under what title?
  3. In what two American cities did the Beatles have to temporarily seek sanctuary after excited fans invaded the stage?
  4. The famous song; 'Yesterday', written by Paul McCartney had its music written before its lyrics. It is said that Paul used the words what words to fill the lyrics, which were later replaced by yesterday?
  5. John returned his MBE medal to the queen on November 25th, 1969, as a protest against what?